After listening to about 5 episodes of Mad World by Bryony Gordon back to back, which is a podcast all about the truths of mental health it gave me the idea for this post. In the podcast, they discuss everything from their mental health struggles and what has helped them recover and it made me really think about the past few months. To be completely honest ever since May the state of my MH has been really poor, infact I don't think it's been such a mess since I had a complete breakdown around 4 years ago with a rough patch in November of last year. And I couldn't work out why...I was meant to be super happy there were a lot of good things happening for me I had moved out, my boyfriend was going to be home for longer than two weeks, work was good and I'd passed my driving test etc. But I didn't feel good at all, I felt horrendous every day was riddled with anxious energy [as well as other things] and not the type of energy that gives the urge to do something it was the type of energy that is absolutely exhausting and all I wanted to do was go to sleep.
And I was just trying to push through it each day, I wasn't taking proper care of myself at all and just trying to ignore this giant black cloud looming over my head. It took me far too long to realise just how much I was struggling and after a 3-hour cry on the sofa last Sunday it was the final straw and I realised that I needed to really get my mental health back in check and do some of the things that I knew would help me out. I always find it very interesting to know how other people deal with their MH and here are some things that have really helped me in a rough patch.
Something that isn't very easy but is probably the first thing to do that is so important when it comes to your mental health is accepting it for what it is. I mean, no-one likes struggling especially when it feels like your brain hates you and won't do the things that seem so normal. And I think when we struggle with anything health wise whether it be physical or mental it's not the easiest thing to deal with. But when it comes to mental health and people can't physically see the symptoms and you're desperately trying to find the words to explain what is going on with your brain which is near on impossible sometimes it can be even harder. And going through a bad patch with my mental health made me feel so low, I felt weak and stupid because everything in my life was ok but that didn't mean I was happy. And most of all I felt incredibly lonely because I didn't want to accept that I was finding things so hard. There is no shame in going through a bad patch with your mental health.
I've always known that I'm a dog person as we've had Bella for so many years. But getting Josie [mine and my boyfriend's whippet puppy]. Has been such a comfort to my mental health. Having somebody to look after that isn't just myself has given me a responsibility that I've never had before. And looking after a little dog and seeing her grow and thrive has been such a big thing for me. As well as seeing her grow and thrive just being around her and how happy she is all the time is such an incredible thing. Becoming a proper dog parent has been such an amazing experience albeit stressful at times I'm far too excited for the next few months.
I wrote about this on my Instagram and if you read this post then you will notice that my work space looks a little different. Like I said, I've moved out of my dad's house permanently now and I hadn't really had the time to move over all my possessions. When my boyfriend very generously upgraded my tech to a desktop Mac it meant that my other desk was a little bit of tight squeeze and I knew in the back of my mind I was going to have to upgrade soon. I didn't realise that not having all my things around me was something that could be having such a negative effect on my mind but it had. I'm someone that is incredibly sensitive to their environment and taking the day to build and organise myself a new workspace worked wonders on my very anxious mind. And tidying, in general, is something that I try and allow myself to do as well as I find it incredibly calming. And we all have to clean the house as boring at is, I'm not sure why cleaning the bathroom is the worst task in the world but it really is. Having an environment that is clean, tidy and clutter free is something that I really need for my mind to feel a little more together.
TAKING SOME TIME TO MYSELF
Over the years I've become particularly good at spending time by myself mostly because I've had to due to mine and my boyfriend's relationship. And I love being alone, it's something that can get a little too overwhelming I'll admit but for the most part, it's something that I really enjoy. And because my boyfriend is home for the Summer and I've been trying to squeeze in as much time as I can with him I have been a little overwhelmed. As I'm so used to being on my own so often that means I really enjoy having time to myself and tend to really crave it, as well as being an introvert although I can happily be with him and not feel too drained. Just taking a few hours to spend time alone does my mind wonders, it allows me to calm down a little and not feel so much pressure from the people around me. I know time to yourself is very much a luxury and I completely recognise that but if you can do it I think it's something that is so important to allow your mind to feel a little clearer.
TALKING ABOUT IT
Whenever I'm finding something difficult I really don't find it easy to talk about. And it's not because I don't want to but I find it much easier to internalise things. This time has been a little different though, with the people that I feel safe talking to I've wanted to share what's been going on. And when they've asked me how things are not being afraid to admit that I've been struggling. I don't always find comfort in talking it out but truly getting out what's on my mind has been a lot easier to handle. And when our thoughts don't make any sense in our brains even just saying them out loud can make them feel a little less scary.
WALKING & GETTING OUTSIDE
When we weren't able to walk Josie or really leave the house all that much I can't say I found it very easy. We were trying to learn to leave her as much as possible but we couldn't do it for very long as she was only a [not so] tiny pup. Now we can get out and about with her it's done my mind so much good. For some people, they really want to stay inside when they feel low mentally but I need to get outside at least once a day. It doesn't need to be for hours on end, even just 20 minutes and I feel a weight being lifted off me. Although I love my surroundings being nice I can't stand feeling trapped with them. Not only has it done my mind the world of good but it's also been really lovely walking Josie and getting into more of a routine as well as meeting other local dog walkers has been such a positive experience.
NOT LETTING MYSELF FEEL ASHAMED
Like I mentioned earlier in this post I felt so ashamed and almost embarrassed that I was having a tough time. And all of the above things haven't cured what's been going on but they've helped so much and that's been a big thing after feeling so low for weeks on end with no light at the end of the tunnel. Mental health whatever it is you're struggling with wants to make you feel as alone as possible and that's such a hard battle to win. And when it comes to writing about MH I've always strayed away from it because my struggles weren't that typical and not very easy to explain let alone share with thousands of people. But on the flip side, it's all too easy to presume that someone's life is sunshine and rainbows when it's actually been pretty difficult. Going through a rough patch with mental health doesn't make me or anybody else a weak person and talking about in whatever way helps break down those barriers.
What are the things that help your mental health?